Saturday, May 28, 2011

Today is the first day...

...of the rest of your life! Do you remember your firsts....the victory you felt when you rode a two-wheel bike the first time? (Mine had a turquoise banana seat and tall handlebars with turquoise handles and silver streamers.) Do you remember your first job, your wedding day, or the first time you held your child in your arms? What do your firsts have in common?
PASSION! Get back in the game of life! Yes, thanks to Keith Kochner ( and the 2-Day Exchange Event that I just attended, I plan to be a better coach for those of you who want to get healthy. I want to be more than a friend that encourages you to reclaim your health, I want to be your mentor...and I think I have been too easy.
Today's post will be a direct reflection of some things I learned from Keith Kochner. First, let me say if a 2-day Exchange Event is ever within driving distance - GO!! It is life changing and unlike any other leadership conference I have attended. For one, Keith's vision for helping people comes from God and he is not afraid to share his faith. I firmly believe that FAITH will get you where you want to go. Faith is a huge part of true abundance, and in my personal opinion, the most important part.
Remember that you are never alone on the journey. Jesus is with you through every first, and every last. Will today be the day that you eat that last piece of destructive food, whatever it may be? I know you have a goal, but what are you willing to do to get there? "Don't let the past poison your future." Additional wise words from the exchange and I can relate them to a healthy lifestyle change.
Yes, like me, you may have tried to diet previously, and like me, you probably did not achieve your goal. OR, if you relapsed and gained it back. That's your past. Look ahead to your future. FOCUS!! As I have said before, visioning where I wanted to be had a lot to do with my weight loss success. When I was tempted to go buy a candy bar for a mid-afternoon craving, I asked myself..."will this help me get where I want to be?" The answer, of course, was no, and I opted for the apple I had brought along to work for such a time as this. (Lesson to take from this - have the healthy options available!)
You're going to get hungry, but that doesn't mean you have to revert to your ways of old. This is the FIRST DAY of a new you, even if you had a relapse yesterday, this is a new first day!! Don't look back...focus on the future and what you want it to be.... healthy; 20, 40, 60 lbs. less of you; disease free; less joint or back pain.... whatever your vision may be!
What's in your life right now that you don't want to be a part of your future. It's about choice, it's about progress, and it is about YOU. Don't blame others for yourself, because one thing I do know about success vs. failure, is that it is up to you. Support is good, but not required. If you want something bad enough you can achieve it. You know why? Because you are never on this journey alone. You are a child of God and He wants for your body to be healthy. He has designed you so well that you were made to be healthy. Give your body what it needs to run at optimum performance and this will not only be the first day of the rest of your life, but the BEST DAY!

Make it happen,
Rita S.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Ear Aches - Natural Relief

I have read so much about anti-biotics, that when our son developed an ear ache last Thursday, my gut told me to aviod anti-biotics if possible. Here's the husband calls me at work at 4 pm saying Kyle has an ear ache and she he take him to the clinic. Well, our son stayed home from school only one day Wednesday with a cold, and this was only day 2.  When you take your kid in for a continuing cough, etc., they always ask "how long has this been going on?" - and if it is less than 2 weeks...they say it is viral, time will take care of it and if symptoms persist in 2 weeks, come back.
From experience, I figured the doctor would not do a lot for someone on day two of a cold. So I told my husband it would probably be a waste of time. Fast forward 1.5 hours...
We're having dinner and our son is eating with one hand over his ear - it hurts. At 6:30 he is supposed to report to school for the last band concert of the year. His whole purpose in staying home Wednesday was to be better so he could play at the concert.  He was really in no shape to play in the concert.
Jesse wondered about taking our son to urgent care...I thought about drugs possibly being administered, and it would surely mean missing the band concert.
I sprang into action...on the internet. Found  and there I saw several reports of people talking about ear ache relief with olive oil, onion and garlic. I recalled how a chiropractor we used to see, when our son was a tot, had us put garlic oil drops into his ears for an infection. Garlic kills the bacteria inside the ear.  Apparently, per this site, onion helps alleviate pain. There were several suggestions and remedies on how to use onion. Not one remedy had all three ingredients being used together, and indeed one of the latter site respondents questioned this. So did I!
Time was running out - it was now 30 min. before band concert report in time. I decided to put extra virgin olive oil in the bottom of a saucepan, had the Ninja quickly chop some onion, and pressed garlic into the oil as well. I sauteed the mixtured for about 7 minutes. Using a fine wire mesh strainer, I strained the mixture, which left a garlic and onion infused oil in the bowl. We did not have an ear dropper, but Jesse found a pipette. I used it to draw up a bit of oil, and allowed it to cool, so it was warm and not hot. I had Kyle lay on his side and put about three drops in the ear.
We waited. In three minutes he said he felt a pop, and then a lighter pop - and the pressure was relieved. (Not a painful burst, mind you.)  It was not 100% better immediately, but better. He rested for about 10 minutes and then he got into his concert attire - and we raced off to school.
Fortunately his sore ear was facing out of the band pit, which meant the row of instruments behind him were not blaring in to it. His ear was quite red though!
By the time the concert was over, his ear was normal in coloration and he said it felt fine - no pain. Amen for that!
Friday he was good for school, with just a bit of cold symptoms remaining. Saturday he said he felt a low ringing in his ear, and although he held his ear, he said that was more for himslef than it was being a need. Sunday there was no longer a ring tone in his ears. 
I will be doing this again if our children experience ear aches. (Not the same as an all out infection.)  It worked pretty fast as well, and saved us a trip and hours at urgent care.

To your health!
Rita S.

Friday, May 13, 2011

What is the pH of the food you eat?

The other day a friend posted a very educational video on her facebook wall...which I of course snagged, and posted to my wall...which is now finding its way to other walls.  This is a CRITICAL video to watch if you want to understand food and how what you eat affects your body.
A case in point....yesterday I had a very non-green day.  I had a vanilla plant based protein smoothie for breakfast with strawberries and blueberries added in. That's a typical start to my day. However, for lunch, rather than my usual 5-6 cups of dark greens (aka salad) I decided to change it up and have leftover grilled pork chop and friend potato and onions (my husband makes GREAT fried spuds!).  A plum was a mid-day snack. Dinner was a quick fix as I had a meeting - came home to my hubby scrambling organic eggs and pan friend bacon. Yummy!
Later, at that meeting, my stomach was bothering me. Have not had a "tummy ache" for eons it seems - every since I began eating whole foods. I reflected on my food intake of the day...what was different? It dawned on greens. I basically consumed ZERO vegetables! My body did not like that. I probably had more protein than my body could handle - namely, animal proteins as mentioned in the video - all falling on the acidic side of the pH scale (pork chop, eggs, bacon). Animal proteins (including whey) are more difficult to digest than plant proteins - bloating and stomach pain (yep!) are not uncommon, and in excess - stain the kidneys and their ability to function.
Be careful about plant proteins as well, however. Soy, which has been touted by the agricultural commission as a  health food - namely to create a market for the cash crop - has been linked to a number of studies associated with thyroid dysfunction, cancer (high amount of estrogenic properties), and just this week - I learned soy (per Dr. Russell Blaylock's Health Watch newsletter) absorbs and has one of the heaviest concentrations of flouride from the soil, than any other plant. As you are probably aware, flouride is a toxin when ingested.
Anytime you are adding estrogen to your body, whether it be through petro chemicals found in skin care and foods, or plant based estrogens - it may create endocrine dysfunction (which messes up a  whole lotta hormones!!). It takes time to build up in your system, have no doubt about that. Endocrine disruption is one of the biggest reasons we are seeing so much cancer in young people these our children our exposed from the time they are born. Parents unknowlingly apply petro-based chemicals to their baby's skin in the form of baby oil or lotion, and we give our kids peto-based food colorings in products such as colored "ades" and gel'd and wiggly fun foods.  I have a new link in my side bar today - to a non profit org studying the effects of endocrine dysruption and its links to neurological disorders, cancer, and more. If you are expecting, or have a baby - please, please read the information provided. If you are having hormone imbalance, in particular thyroid issues - study up! Do yourself a favor and self-educate - we really do have to be our own best advocates for our bodies and well being.

To your health!
Rita S.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Why use pure and safe products?

When I share my weight loss success story, it cannot be shared without giving at least some of the credit to balanced hormones. Afterall, estrogen - which the majority of women have too much of - loves fat cells and retains it. Progesterone, on the other  hand, converts fat cells to energy. Progesterone deficiency and estrogen dominance is an epidemic in the United States and Canada, and begins early on in life from the moment your mother used Johnson & Johnson baby oil on your skin. What's that all about, you may ask.  Read the oil is a petroleum based product (aka mineral oil). Petroleum may be good for my mini van, but my body is not meant to run on, or utilize petro, and instead the chemical masks itself as estrogen in my body.Just about everything we do, eat, apply, breathe, etc. ...affects our hormones. I would like to be able to say, "garbage in, garbage out" - but unfortunately MUCH of what goes in does not come out. It stores itself up in our overworked liver and kidneys which were not designed to handle so many chemicals. To get my previous, uneducated product choices cleansed from my body, I have detoxed to ensure my liver is restored to full function. Fortunately I have always consumed lots of water since my first back surgery eons ago...and that has had to benefit my body's ability to flush toxins.
So again, weight loss began with detoxification, healthful choices both on my skin and ingested orally, and helping my hormones return to balance with bio-identical progesterone cream.
Our coffeeshop in town has a nice little pub called Natural Awakenings -it's a freebie devoted to healthy living for a healthy planet. I thought I would share some ingredients to watch out for in your personal care products - but don't ask me how to pronounce them! Check out the Environmental Working Group for information on ingredient evaluation. Quoting from The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, "While the European Union has banned 1,100 chemicals from cosmetics, the United States has banned just 10. Only 11 percent of chemicals used in cosmetics in the United States have been assessed for health and safety."
Parabens - many people are familiar with this one, and I can even say the word without scratching my head. Parabens, or any words ending in "...paraben" affects the hormones, aka endocrine disruptor. You would not believe how many health issues are related to our endocrine system...but if you start checking out the links on the right column of this blog you can begin to find out!
Polyethylene glycol (PEG) - toxic, contaminanat
Sodium lauryl, or laureth, sulfate - contaminant that may cause skin damage. (basically, per my hair stylist - it is a skin irritant and responsible for the little flakes so many people have due to the inexpensive and harsh shampoos out there).
Triclosan and triclocarban anti-bacterials - unfortunately we are not having any success in finding a bulk sized anti bacterial handsoap that does not contain these ingredients, which present potential thyroid concerns.
Triethanolamin (TEA) - contaminant that may trigger allergies
Dimethylol Dimethyl (DMDM) hydantoin and Imidazolidinyl urea - preservatives that release formaldehyde
Fragrance and dyes - may cause allergies or cancer and affect the nervous system
Methylchloroisothiazolinone and Methylisothiazolinone - preservatives that may cause allergies and affect the nervous system.
Can you imagine the number of points you would score in a Scrabble game with those last two ingredients??! Wow! Truly words that would be deserving of a spelling bee championship!
In celebration of warmer weather and my new sandals...I did something Saturday night that I told myself I would never do again after becoming a wise and health-conscience consumer. Can you guess what I did? Yep, I painted my toenails!! I tried not to breathe in the xenoestrogen fumes and the whole while doing it all I could think of was how bad this was for me, and that 60% of the chemicals in the drops that got onto my skin were absorbed into my bloodstream in less than 30 seconds!! Okay, there is no joy in painting toenails any longer, although I do think the shade of purple is quite pretty. To make it worse, the following day I picked up the issue of "Natural Awakenings" and there is a Q&A column that states, "...It's hard to get colors, especially bright, deep, rich shimmering ones - to stick to nails; consequently, of all cosmetics, nail polishes tend to contain the most toxins," per Renee Loux, autho of "Easy Green Living". Loux goes on to say that there are polishes out there that do not contain the toxin toluene, which is linked to severe respiratory and nervous system problems, as well as kidney and liver functions. Ummm...I guess I better find a safe alternative for my next nail painting urge. If you are using a toluene free brand and like it, please share. Sandal season is upon us, and although my nails look healthier than they have in years...I simply am not fond of my toes without a little color.

To your health!
Rita S.

Monday, May 2, 2011

What do pigs eat?

I know... a strange question, but I am pondering that as I wonder what is fed to pigs in which their hormones are extracted and then used in hormone replacement therapy for women, which I admit, was not aware of until today. Apparently thyroids from pigs are collected and used to create a supplementation (well known is a brand called Armour) for humans.
Is there such a thing as pasture feed pigs? I am sure there is. re organic pigs fed corn, and if so, has the corn not been genetically altered to resist pests?  Basically, I am just wanting to know more about pig hormone replacement therapy and how safe it is. I guess in part it has to start with what goes in the pig. No doubt if a pig is fed petroleum based products as we humans are through additives, etc., that a pig could have pretty rampant hormones, wouldn't they? I ask because I don't know. Maybe my reader friends from the lab in Texas can fill me in...
I do know that diosgenin is the component of the plant used for hormone replacement therapy, but what about pigs? Is the thyroid gland itself used? What if pig had malfunctioning thyroid, assuming they were fed garbage, literally (aka chemicals, meds, etc.).

In searching this topic further, I found this article. But still, I would like to know more. If you have experience in taking  pig HRT, or offer them to your clients - please tell me about it. Comment or send me a link.

The Virginia Hopkins Health Watch site is always full of great info. I found the paragraphs below, quoted from one of Dr. John Lee's books:

Taking Thyroid Supplements

A New England Journal of Medicine article in 1999 found that patients with true thyroid deficiency generally do better with thyroxin (T4) plus low dose triiodothyroinine (T3) supplements than with thyroxin (T4) alone, which is standard conventional medical treatment. This should not be surprising since the normal thyroid gland secretes both hormones. Whatever hormone is deficient, it is always better to supplement the real hormone.
When deciding which thyroid hormone to take, most doctors offer women a choice between Armour thyroid, which is ground up or dessicated cow or pig thyroid (also called USP thyroid), or one of the thyroxins (levothyroxine sodium), with the most common brand names of Levoxyl and Synthroid. If you're not going to use Armour, which supplies both T3 and T4 in approximately the ratio made by the human thyroid, I would recommend that you take both thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyroinine (T3), also called liothyronine sodium, with brand names of Cytomel and Triostat.
Most women diagnosed as hypothyroid are at the age when they are still menstruating but are deficient in progesterone. Why not make it routine in medicine to investigate the potential role of progesterone in their thyroid problem? Hormones are not independent of each other. Their functions are interconnected and complex. The role of the doctor is to find the right blend of hormones to create the best possible balance of all of them, including progesterone, for each individual patient.

My thoughts, with that last statement, is that if you are taking natural thyroid supplement and it is not doing the trick, perhaps a next step to consider would be to try a progesterone balancing transdermal cream.
Other interesting links if you care to read more:

To your health!
Rita S.